Ben Pearce: Talking B2B Sets

It's Pearce-On Sound...
Ben Pearce

DJing is a pursuit that attracts those who like control. Being able to switch up the audience to move to any tempo they play, they’re the one that the crowd positions their faces towards.

So the moment when selectors lose that all-important control is when playing b2b sets – allowing one or more mixers to swoop in and disrupt their flow. It’s an art, and one that Ben Pearce proved himself adept at when playing an eight-hour set at Toffler in Rotterdam with Real Connoisseur AKA Conor Lloyd, who is signed to his Purp & Soul label. We caught up with the P&S head honcho to find out about his gargantuan set went and his thoughts on getting the knack of the b2b. 

You can download an hour-long portion of the mix recorded on the night exclusively HERE.     

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So eight hours is a pretty long time - a full working day, in fact. Is that the longest set you've ever done?

To be honest, I haven't done that long for a while. It didn't feel like it as I was playing with a good friend and having a really good time, plus the club and the atmosphere were amazing.

Do yours and Real Connoisseur's tastes differ at all or are your iTunes libraries quite well matched?

We come from different backgrounds but do enjoy a lot of the same music. It works well when we play together, we had the chance to go from really slow disco and hip hop to techno. I don't know how well versed he is in heavy metal… He's got a wide music taste though, so you never know!

You and Conor released a split EP earlier in the year and he's also signed to your label, but it must be easier/more enjoyable to mix with another person who you know well. Which DJ have you most enjoyed going b2b with over the course of your career?

Probably in Ibiza when I played b2b2b with Seth Troxler, Skream, Eats Everything and Ryan Crosson. I know that's not strictly 'a DJ' but that was great fun. Only a few hundred people at Sands bar, typical Ibizan weather, great day! Saying that, I do always have the best times playing b2b with anyone from my label, it always works musically and is so much fun.

What do you think is the most important thing to bear in mind when mixing with another DJ?

Just to pay attention to where they're going and have a few choices lined up in case they switch it up a bit. When you play solo you'll probably have the next three or four tracks laid out in your head, so to have someone else step up and throw in a curveball sometimes is great- it really tests your imagination and inspires you quite often. The best b2b sets just flow organically.

Have you got any DJ Disaster stories to spill to us - any horrible experiences behind the decks where everything that could possibly go wrong went wrong?

Thankfully not yet, although a naked guy did try and jump into the booth at Secret Garden Party, which was quite interesting. I was a bit concerned for a while he was going to get in - he looked quite troubled by something!

Blue sky thinking here, if you could pick any two selectors to watch going b2b, who would you choose?

Midland and Prosumer, I think. Maybe that's already happened, I'd definitely be interested to hear / see that.

And finally, what's next for Ben Pearce? Have you got any releases coming out soon on your Purp & Soul label?

Yep I've got an EP coming next on the label, three tracks by myself - they're more club tracks. After that, a record with Black Orange Juice that I'm really excited about and I'm working with a few different artists on some other music.

Catch Ben Pearce playing at a Purp & Soul event in The Nest, Dalston on January 1st - ticket link.

Words: Felicity Martin

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The new issue of Clash magazine is out right now. It's always on the money with breakthrough acts worth listening to. So, go and see.

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